P Chidambaram at Dalit SME Fund Launch
Mumbai / June 6 2013
Let every bank branch hand hold a Dalit entrepreneur – Chidambaram
Union Finance Minister Mr P Chidambaram today launched India’s first SEBI registered social impact fund – the DICCI SME Fund at a function in Mumbai. The venture capital fund, initiated by the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, aims to raise Rs 500 crores over 10 years and finance Dalit entrepreneurs to set up their businesses. The fund was launched with an initial contribution of Rs 10 crores by the Small Industries Development Bank of India, SIDBI
“It is a modest beginning, all path breaking projects begin on a modest scale, I am sure, one day this will grow into a massive tree” said Chidambaram, highlighting that the first Dalit Fund will go a long way in creating social equity. “The fact that the first Dalit Fund is being launched at the iconic ball room of the historic Taj Mahal hotel in the country’s financial capital is very significant” he added.
Mr. Chidambaram regretted that we in India have for centuries masked the fact that we discriminated against one quarter of our own people. He said, the Constitution of India provided for equality as also affirmative action. “Reservation may be a blunt instrument, but it is an useful instrument in the absence of a better alternative”, he observed.
Complimenting the DICCI for its pathbreaking initiative, the Finance Minister said that the Dalit Chamber has today shown that acquiring economic power is a better instrument. “There is no better way to seek livelihood with dignity than being an entrepreneur standing on his own legs” he added.
Underlining UPA government’s commitment for promoting inclusive growth, Mr. Chidambaram said small and medium enterprises route is the right path for empowerment of SC/ST entrepreneurs. He said the newly announced Public Procurement Policy mandates 20 per cent of all government and public procurement to be made from the MSME sector. It further stipulates that 4 per cent of all purchases should be made from firms run by the SC/ST entrepreneurs.
Admitting that availability of finance is an issue for smaller enterprises, the Finance Minister said every bank branch in the country should hand hold one SC/ST entrepreneur, from amongst hundreds of its customers. “We will have one lakh flowers blooming in the country” he observed. Mr. Chidambaram also said that he will ask the public sector financial institutions, banks and LIC to invest in the DICCI SME Fund to meet its corpus requirements.
The DICCI SME fund launched with a motto “we will not be job seekers, we will be job givers” aims to create four kinds of social impact : Financial inclusion for SC/ST SMEs through access to equity capital markets, economic empowerment through wealth creation, employment creation for SC/ST youth and capacity building through the investee companies. Ends / PIB Mum/MD/AS